Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Sullivant Original V


"The first hundred wives are the hardest."

This illustration appeared in LIFE magazine on January 19, 1922. Sullivant drew several cartoons referring to King Solomon and his many wives. This one measures 23 x 14".
With apologies regarding its outdated humor. But there is a lot to admire here, the composition, simplified anatomy among other things. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Edgar, Madame and Hautecourt

These Milt Kahl sketches appear in my book on the Nine Old Men, but I wanted to post them here in hi/res. They are the kind of drawings you can look at and study for a while with a cup of coffee. 

As usual, you are looking at Milt's drawing perfection. Such beauty in...everything. The rhythm within the poses, the hands, the feel for the fabric of clothing and on and on. These are masterful sketches.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Sketches of Penny

These beautiful, sensitive drawings are by Ollie Johnston. They predate animation, Ollie was exploring poses and attitudes that reveal Penny's personality. Already you see a sweetness and melancholy that define her character. And look at that light Ollie touch in the line work, so different than -let's say- Frank Thomas, Milt Kahl or Marc Davis. As Glen Keane said in the documentary Frank & Ollie, his pencil seems to be kissing the paper.
I realized that over the years I have posted quite a few times about this character. Turns out that I just have a lot of original material with Penny. 

Ollie is ALL emotion. He knew he didn't draw as well as Milt or Marc, but the fact that he felt for his characters so deeply makes his work stand out. 


Here are a few other previous posts on Penny:

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Lady & the Tramp Layout

I have always loved the inroduction scenes of Tramp. They start with a shot of the "other side of the tracks" as far as Lady's world is concerned. This gorgeous layout drawing depicts a kind of countryside setting. The final version shows the outskirts of a small midwestern town around 1909. 

Again...the artistic caliber at the Disney Studio is astonishing. From layout sketch to background painting to the character animation that follows. Admittedly, during the 1950s other studios were experimenting with more modern graphic styles. Disney had started to dabble in modernism with the terrific short film Toot, Whistle. Plunk and Boom from 1953. And a fresh graphic change would take shape at the studio starting with the release of Sleeping Beauty in 1959.

But you can't knock this old fashioned Norman Rockwell-like styling. At least I can't.


Monday, September 13, 2021

Sullivant Original IV


From the Jungle Gazette:

Young Wilbur Lion is home from his triumphal tour with the Mammoth Circus. "Welcome home, Wilbur."

Life Magazine, fall 1925

This beauty measures 16 1/2  x  10 1/2". Drawn almost 100 years ago. Sullivant's quadrupeds are walking on their toes here. By contrast Disney would later put the bodyweight of anthropomorphic animals on the whole length of the foot, like humans (Song of the South, Robin Hood etc.) As so often in his work Sullivant keeps the background to a minimum, so the characters read clearly and beautifully. 

Friday, September 10, 2021

Ward Kimball...20 Questions


Here is another one of those questionaires that someone sent to various artists from the entertainment industry, years ago. Kimball answers them in typical fashion. 

I posted Ollie Johnston's answers a while ago:

Sunday, September 5, 2021

"Listen Friar..."

"'re mighty preachy and you gonna preach your neck (right into a hangman's noose.)" The Sheriff of Nottingham is not happy with Friar Tuck's confrontational comments about taxes and the poor.
This is a Milt Kahl scene, and these drawings were photocopied before a clean up artist would erase some of the construction lines and eliminate extraneous ones, on the original sheets. 

But these animation key drawings are pure Milt. The back of the head leads the motion, and when the head arrives at the high position, Milt goes crazy with with the character's dialogue. The word "mighty" is about to come up, and for the middle vowel he just about breaks the jaw for an extremely large open mouth shape (drawing 53).

No other animator at Disney would take it this far. There are people who love this kind of stuff, others resent it. (Ollie Johnston wasn't crazy about Milt's oversized mouth shapes).

To me this works when applied only occasionally to a loud, strong vowel. If you only use big mouth shapes in your dialogue animation, the character will end up grimacing, instead of talking naturally.

Great scene!